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Right to Buy

Volume 542: debated on Monday 12 March 2012

I have today announced that we will increase the maximum right-to-buy discount cap for tenants to £75,000 across England from 2 April this year, subject to parliamentary approval. The Government are on the side of those who aspire to own their own homes.

The previous shadow Secretary of State slammed home ownership as “the English disease”, which is probably one of the reasons right-to-buy sales fell significantly under the previous Government. Does my right hon. Friend agree that home ownership, whether stimulated by the NewBuy guarantee or the right to buy, is not a disease but something that fosters pride and aspiration in our communities?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to explain that the right to buy was savagely cut under the previous Administration, to the point where very few sales went through each year. Today, the coalition Government are reinvigorating and rebooting the right to buy, which will now help up to 100,000 people purchase their own home, with discounts of up to £75,000, and with the money being used to replace those sold with new homes on a one-for-one basis. That, together with the NewBuy guarantee, will ensure that a further 100,000 people will be able to buy their own home. We are on the side of aspirant people who wish to buy the roof over their heads.

Will the Minister explain and clarify his recent announcement on the £75,000 cap? He spoke today of replacement on a one-for-one basis. Does that mean that he does not mean like-for-like replacement in the same area?

Where local authorities can provide the new homes in the same area, we will certainly look to keep the money locally and build in the area. The hon. Lady, as a previous shadow housing Minister—one of the eight I have faced—knows that the money will be used for the affordable rent programme, which will enable us to build 170,000 affordable homes for rent, and this will give us another 100,000 on top of that—far more than the previous Administration built over 13 years.

Order. The hon. Gentleman has already asked a question. He cannot have forgotten the fact, because I certainly have not.